Easton, Pennsylvania (610) 258 - 7079

Personalized Care for Changing Family Structures

At the law office of Ellen S. Kingsley, in Easton, Pennsylvania, I help individuals resolve issues pertaining to family law and animal law. My practice includes divorce, custody, visitation, support and adoption, as well as mediation of family law matters, and animal law. I represent people throughout the Lehigh Valley area, including the cities of Allentown and Bethlehem. My practice is limited to these areas and personalized to your particular needs. Focusing my legal practice allows me to provide comprehensive and tailored representation in these areas

My practice is limited. Focusing my legal practice allows me to provide comprehensive and tailored representation in the areas listed below

Practice Areas

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Commonly called a divorce, this terminates a valid marriage. Pennsylvania allows specific grounds for divorce, whether it is contested or uncontested. When couples dissolve their marriage, the parties must reach agreements concerning spousal support, child custody and support, and property division, among other things. If such agreements cannot be reached, the court will decide these issues based on Pennsylvania law. I can advise you on what grounds you can seek a divorce, and help you negotiate the various agreements needed to terminate the marriage. If necessary, I will represent your interests before the court.

Going through a divorce is never easy. The change in family structure, the arguments regarding splitting the household, the fights over the kids’ future: all these contribute to the stress and anxiety of the situation.

At the law office of Ellen S. Kingsley, in Easton, Pennsylvania, I focus my practice on family law, and as a result, I have a clear understanding of the difficulties and challenges my clients are going through. I offer supportive representation to clients throughout the Lehigh Valley area, taking the time to truly understand their situations so I can advise on the best options for their needs.

My Divorce and Family Law Practice

My practice involves all matters of divorce, including:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Alimony (spousal support)
  • Child support
  • Property division
  • Pet custody

I can also handle grandparents’ rights issues and family adoption matters if the situation requires it.  I believe in addressing all these issues upfront with my clients so that there are no surprises later on in the process. I make sure they know what is at stake and help them make good decisions for moving forward.

Post-Divorce Modifications

In addition to representing clients during the dissolutions of their marriages, I also handle post-judgment matters such as modifications and relocation issues. When a parent gets a new job or an older child requests a change in a visitation schedule, the original court order must be changed. I can help you make a formal request to change the divorce decree to avoid potential contempt of court actions.

Child Custody

This involves each parent’s right to make decisions for the child (referred to as legal custody), and the right to have the child reside with, or visit, a particular parent (referred to as physical custody). This is commonly the most contentious part of a divorce. Pennsylvania courts decide child custody issues based on “the best interests of the child,” a set of factors derived from the child’s age and maturity, proximity to common areas, and relationships with parents and other relatives. I can advise you on how these factors can affect your custody wishes, whether you seek to establish a custody order or modify an existing one.

In Pennsylvania, child custody arrangements are made in accordance with the “best interests of the child.” The thought behind this is that both parents play an equally important role in the child’s life. However, special circumstances are taken into consideration that may affect the arrangement, such as if one parent does not take an interest in the child.

At the family law office of Ellen S. Kingsley, in Easton, Pennsylvania, I strive to help individuals and families develop child custody solutions that promote healthy relationships between parents and their children. Whether you live apart from your child’s other parent due to a divorce or separation, I will offer the quality representation you deserve while forming a suitable custody and visitation plan.

My Divorce and Family Law Practice

I inform and advise clients on the various forms of child custody:

  • Joint custody: In the realm of the law, both parents have the responsibility to care for the child.
  • Sole custody: Under a sole custody situation, one parent has the responsibility of care for the child.
  • Legal custody: Both parents have legal guardian status. This means they can sign health records, take control over the child’s financial affairs and have other legal rights regarding the child.
  • Physical custody: This situation refers to where the child will live. Sometimes, the courts will appoint a parent primary custody, providing a principal home for the child and granting the other parent visitation rights.

Child custody matters are complex because there are many different arrangements, and each one has different implications for the family. For instance, a parent may have sole physical custody of a child, but share legal custody with the other parent. As your attorney, I can advise you on which arrangement is best for your family, and on specifically what serves the interests of your children. I will help you negotiate the agreements through open discussions with the other party or will aggressively assert your position in court.


Do you have primary custody of your child and want to relocate to another city or state? Do you believe your ex-partner is trying to take your child away from you? Relocation is a sensitive and emotionally stressful matter. I can help assert your interests and assist in working out a favorable child custody and visitation plan, if necessary.

Animal Law

There are many different types of legal issues that pertain to animals, such as pet custody, estate planning for pets, the rights of individuals that own service animals, and ownership disputes. Learn more about each below.

Pet Custody

One aspect of a divorce that is often overlooked is where the family pets will be placed. To some individuals, especially those without children, the custody of the pets can be a highly emotionally charged issue. I offer clients compassionate and professional representation in situations where the custody of a pet or pets is disputed.

Estate Planning for Pets

Many individuals wish to establish estate-planning documents to ensure that their pets will be taken care of after their death. I strive to help clients create the proper documents to protect the animal and provide for their care in the event that they cannot due to their own disability or death.

Service Animals and the Rights of Their Owners

Disabled individuals that have a service animal for assistance have a certain set of rights. If an individual’s service animal is refused admittance into an establishment, this is a violation of the law. This is essentially the refusal of the disabled individual, since the animal on which they are dependent cannot enter. My office is dedicated to helping the owners of service animals ensure that all of their rights, and the rights of the service animal, are protected.

Ownership Disputes

After a pet is adopted by a family, issues may arise regarding ownership of the animal. A previous owner may claim that the animal was never available for adoption, was not abandoned and was never without an owner. I provide support and guidance for families dealing with disputes over the ownership of an animal.


The court system, while often necessary, is fraught with difficulties, injustices and high costs.  By using mediation as a way to resolve disputes, couples can take charge of their own lives and hopefully, come up with a solution that suits both.  Using my social work skills as well as my legal knowledge, I can help you frame a resolution and avoid the uncertainty that comes with the courts.


Pennsylvania has liberal adoption laws. Essentially, any person may adopt, and any person may be adopted, regardless of age or residence. However, certain consent provisions must be met in order to validate the adoption before the state. An increasing number of clients have contacted me for stepparent adoptions. When a parent remarries after the death of a former spouse or after a divorce, the new spouse may desire to formally adopt the child or children of their current spouse.

Since the adoption laws here in Pennsylvania are very broad, any person may adopt. Likewise, any person may be adopted regardless of age or their residential status. There are many different types of adoptions that can be initiated in the State of Pennsylvania. Learn more about each below.

Closed Adoption

A closed adoption is completed when a birth parent, or adoptive parents, decides that the birth parents will not have any involvement with the child after the adoption process is completed.

Open Adoption

When adoptive parents and birth parent decide to continue to involve the birth parent in the child’s life after the adoption, it is called an open adoption.

Stepparent Adoption

After the death of a former spouse, divorce or other situation, and upon remarriage, the proceedings for a stepparent adoption may be started. However, this is not always the easiest to complete, as the parental rights of the other biological parent (if he or she is still alive) must be terminated. Many individuals object to this, as they still want to have access to their child. I provide representation to clients exploring the option of stepparent adoption or attempting to block the termination of their parental rights.

Relative Adoption

Certain situations warrant the adoption of a child or individual by another type of relative, such as an uncle, aunt or grandparent. I can help clients understand their rights and if they are able to pursue the adoption of the child.